Trump tours Paradise area, calls wildfire a ‘really bad one’

State News
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PARADISE, Calif. (AP) — From the ashes of a mobile home and RV park, President Donald Trump said Saturday he came to the heart of California’s killer wildfire to fully grasp the scale of the desolation wrought on the landscape.

“We’re going to have to work quickly. … Hopefully this is going to be the last of these because this was a really, really bad one,” said the president, standing amid the crumpled foundations of homes and twisted steel of melted cars.

“I think everybody’s seen the light and I don’t think we’ll have this again to this extent,” Trump said in Paradise, the town largely destroyed by a wildfire ignited Nov. 8 that he called “this monster.”

With that bold and perhaps unlikely prediction, Trump pledged that improved forest management practices will diminish future risks. The declaration evoked his initial tweeted reaction to the fire, the worst in the state’s history, in which he seemed to blame local officials and threatened to take away federal funding.

Hours later and hundreds of miles to the south, Trump found similar signs of devastation in the seaside conclave of Malibu, one of the areas of Southern California ravaged by wildfires. Palm trees stood scorched and some homes were burned to the ground on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

At least 71 people died across Northern California, and authorities are trying to locate more than 1,000 people, though not all are believed missing. More than 5,500 fire personnel were battling the blaze that covered 228 square miles (590 square kilometers) and was about 50 percent contained, officials said.

When asked in Paradise if seeing the historic devastation, which stretched for miles and left neighborhoods destroyed and fields scorched, altered his opinion on climate change, Trump answered, “No.”

The president has long voiced skepticism about man’s impact on the climate and has been reluctant to assign blame to a warming earth for the increase in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters.

For Trump, it was a day to comfort a state grieving from twin tragedies, wildfires in Northern and Southern California as well as a mass shooting Nov. 7 at a popular college bar north of Los Angeles.

Trump said he would meet with people impacted by the shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks before returning to Washington. The meeting was expected to be closed to reporters.

Wearing a camouflage “USA” hat, Trump gazed solemnly at the devastation in Paradise.

At least 71 people died across Northern California, and authorities are trying to locate more than 1,000 people, though not all are believed missing. More than 5,500 fire personnel were battling the blaze that covered 228 square miles (590 square kilometers) and was about 50 percent contained, officials said.

When asked in Paradise if seeing the historic devastation, which stretched for miles and left neighborhoods destroyed and fields scorched, altered his opinion on climate change, Trump answered, “No.”

The president has long voiced skepticism about man’s impact on the climate and has been reluctant to assign blame to a warming earth for the increase in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters.

For Trump, it was a day to comfort a state grieving from twin tragedies, wildfires in Northern and Southern California as well as a mass shooting Nov. 7 at a popular college bar north of Los Angeles.

Trump said he would meet with people impacted by the shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks before returning to Washington. The meeting was expected to be closed to reporters.

Wearing a camouflage “USA” hat, Trump gazed solemnly at the devastation in Paradise.

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